Biomimicry: Environmental and Social Responsibility within Textiles
What is biomimicry?
Biomimicry is the science, or process, of learning from and mimicking the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges. Instead of focusing on what we can extract or domesticate from the natural world, biomimicry teaches us to value nature for what it is, and what it can teach us.
What can nature teach us?
Circularity, sustainability, and regenerative design are all examples of strategies employed by nature. Nature uses structure to change functions. It also uses passive forms of energy, and can teach us to create conditions conducive to life, as in nature, instead of using force.
A great example of biomimicry inspired design in the textile industry is Velcro – the fabric hook and loop fastener inspired by the burdock plant (a member of the thistle plant family). Velcro is made from two pieces of fabric which, when brought together, form a strong bond. One fabric contains stiff ‘hooks’ like the burrs of the burdock plant, while the other contained soft ‘loops’ which are similar to the loosely woven fibres in clothing.
Another example is Speedo’s ‘Fastskin’ swimwear, inspired by the skin of sharks, which reduces drag in water.
Other examples include water-repellent materials inspired by the lotus leaf. Water does not remain on the surface of a lotus leaf. Instead, it simply beads up and rolls off. The same principle is used for stain-repellent coating when it comes to producing textiles durable for everyday wear.
Nanocrystals from cellulose
According to the Biomimicry Institute, scientists are investigating ways in which nanocrystals extracted from cellulose can be used to make biofoam which could replace materials such as Styrofoam, which is made from fossil fuels.
MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX®
The MADE IN GREEN label verifies that an article has been tested for harmful substances. This is carried out through certification in accordance with STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® or LEATHER STANDARD by OEKO-TEX®. It also guarantees that the textile or leather product has been manufactured using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions. This is carried out through certification in accordance with STeP by OEKO-TEX®. The green way to shop.
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